Around this time of year, I find myself gravitating toward a certain variety of spirits, mainly the clear ones. Gins, vodkas, and rums really call to me in this warm weather, begging me to mix up ice-cold pitchers of gin and tonics, Moscow mules, and daiquiris. Not surprisingly, those all look perfect perched on the armrest of my lawn chair. Another spirit that always makes its way into my warm-weather repertoire is pisco; a spirit that comes predominantly from Peru and Chile, made from the juice of fermented grapes. This South American brandy is the main ingredient in the incredibly delicious Pisco Sour, a cocktail that is delectable anytime of year, but is most enjoyable during the dog days of summer.
Like whiskies and Scotches, pisco acts a sort of umbrella term for a variety of different expressions. The first, Pisco Puro, is made from black, non-aromatic grapes. The second, Pisco Aromatico, is made from one of four fruitier and more aromatic varieties; muscatel, italia, albilla, and torontel. Pisco Acholado is made from non-aromatic grapes and one variety of aromatic. Finally, Pisco Mosto Verde, is made from partially fermented grapes. The first two, puro and aromatico, are the varieties most commonly used in the Pisco Sour.
Note: Peruvian and Chilean piscos, while similar in production, are not entirely interchangeable when it comes to cocktails. The Chilean variety is slightly sweeter and a lower proof, so if you decide to use one over the other, you may need to adjust the ingredient amounts accordingly.
Read on for some of our favorite pisco cocktail recipes, using a variety of piscos that make each drink truly delicious. Have any favorite pisco cocktails to share? Let us know about them in the comments section. Cheers!
Click here for pisco cocktail recipes.
— Sara Kay, The Spir.it